Truly Virtual Web Art Museum
May 28, 2013 
2013
528

 

Menehunes of in the Backyard
by Rodney E.J. Chang

后院的小精灵

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      Rebecca was having a hard time in life.  Things had to get better.  She just turned 40, was overweight, had two children ages 10 and 8, wasn't married, and had been unemployed for over two years.  She was fortunate to qualify for state assistance, the kids were doing OK in school and not running wild, and finally managed to get herself and children out of her single father's house.  She had had a earful of advice and criticism from the old man to last her a lifetime.  Rebecca was tired of being treated like a loser and now had a chance to stand on her own two feet.  Having found a cheap rental in the basement of an old house, miles away from her father's place, she still could afford to take business classes to be more employable.   Without much self-confidence and having always struggled in school, she was exploitable.  Her gullibility also didn't help, nor did moving in with the landlord that she had.  She was fortunate to find a basement unit of an old house in Honolulu.

瑞贝卡生活的十分艰难。一切必须出现转机。她已经年过四十,负担很重,有两个分别是10岁和8岁的孩子,未婚,失业已经超过两年。她有幸获得国家救助,孩子们在学校还可以,没有荒废,并且最终努力将自己和孩子带出了他单身父亲的家。她在老人的批评和絮絮叨叨中过了一辈子。瑞贝卡厌倦了一直被当作一个失败者,现在她有了自力更生的机会。她找到了一个租金便宜的地下室,距离她父亲的家有几英里远,她仍然无法负担可以令他更容易找到工作的商业课程。缺少足够的自信并且一直在学校挣扎,她是可利用的。他的轻信没有带来什么益处,也没有让她赢得房东的眷顾。有幸的是,她在檀香山一栋老房子找到了一间地下室栖身。  

      Rose Santiago and her husband, both in their late 50s, where originally from the Philippines.  They had managed to save enough to acquire the mortgage on the old, single-wall wooden house – in need of repairs,  in Liliha, an old neighborhood with old people and recently arrived immigrants.   The congested area with link fences and above ground telephone poles and wires  hemming in winding narrow streets was looked down upon by the more affluent that lived above Liliha valley up on Alewa Heights, from where there was a fantastic view of downtown Honolulu as well as infamous Pearl Harbor.

罗斯·圣地亚哥和她的丈夫都快60岁了,最初来自于菲律宾。他们努力的攒下足够的钱来买下这栋老旧、单墙壁的木房子—需要修理,老房子在丽丽哈,一个住满老人和新移民的旧社区。这个被相连的栅栏,露在地上的电线杆和蜿蜒的电线,狭窄的街道所充塞的拥挤区域,被生活在奥乐华高地的丽丽哈山谷的富裕阶层看不起,因为从丽丽哈山谷那里可以观赏檀香山市中心的美景,以及臭名昭著的珍珠港。  

       After a few months as landlord above the tenant in the basement, Rose took a liking to struggling Rebecca.  She started to treat the single parent as her own daughter, giving advice whether Rebecca wanted it or not.  People always seemed to want to counsel the woman.  She knew she needed help and was always all ears to free advice.  But besides practical advice on getting a job, and offering her a measley 10 cents an hour to babysit Rose's 90 year-old mother who lived on the first floor and was confined to a wheel chair, Rose filled Rebecca's mind with her superstition about the little people.

几个月后,作为地下室租户上面的业主,罗斯喜欢上了苦苦挣扎的瑞贝卡。她开始把这个单亲当成自己的女儿,给瑞贝卡提建议,不管她是否愿意。人们似乎总是喜欢忠告女人。她知道她需要帮助,并且总是对免费建议洗耳恭听。但是,除了如何找到工作的实用的建议以及提供她一个每小时10美分的低贱差事,也就是照看罗斯住在一楼,离不开轮椅的90岁的母亲,罗斯还将与小精灵有关的迷信来灌输到瑞贝卡的头脑中。  

     “Menehunes live in my back yard.  Maybe sometimes they come up to peek inside the basement windows.” 

“小精灵住在我的后院。可能有时他们会到地下室的窗子上去偷窥。”  

      “How do you know,”  Rebecca would trepidly ask with credulousness.

“你怎么知道,瑞贝卡会惊恐的问。”  

      “Because when I water the plants in the back yard I can hear the sound of running.  In the  bushes next to big mango tree.   Soft steps like that of little children.”

“因为当我在后院给植物浇水,我可以听到奔跑的声音。就在靠近大芒果树的灌木丛中。像小孩子一样的轻柔脚步声。”  

      “But have you ever seen any of them?”

“但是你曾经见过他们吗?”  

      “No but I can also feel them watching me.”

“没有,但是我能感觉到他们正看着我。”  

      Feel them?  Rebecca was trying to decide if she should believe this too.  Their rental space had a back porch landing that led to the back yard.  She wondered if she had to worry about the safety of her young children.

感觉到他们?瑞贝卡正尝试决定是否应该相信这个事情。他们租住的地方有个后门廊是通向后院的。她很想知道是不是应该担心他们的小孩子的安全。  

     “You know a few months back my husband asked me in the morning if I pulled his hair last night.” 

“你知道吗,几个月之前,我的丈夫在早晨问我,昨晚是不是我拉他的头发。”  

     “Well, Rose, did you?”

“嗯,罗斯,是你吗?”  

     “I've been with that old man so long, why would I bother?  Of course not.  I told him it was probably one of those menehunes.  They can be rascals, you know.”

“我跟那个老头子生活了那么久,为什么我要折腾他?当然不是我。我告诉他可能是那些小精灵中的一个。你知道,他们可是捣蛋鬼。”  

     “So what did he think after you said that?”

“那么在你这样说之后他是怎么想的?”  

     “He agreed with me.  He always does.  He knows I'm smarter than him.”

“他同意我的说法。他总是那样的。他知道我比他聪明的多。”  

     “Oh.”

“懊。”  

     “I know it's true, you know.

“我知道这是真的,你也知道的。”  

     “How can you be so sure?  You told me you never really saw any.”

“你怎么能如此肯定?你跟我说过,你一个都没有见过的。”  

     “As you know, I just went to visit relatives back in the Philippines.  There I meet with a seer and told him about my suspicion concerning menehunes living in my back yard. The old man closed his eyes and when he opened them, told me, 'It's true.  I could see the little people running about in your yard at night.  They pulled your husband's hair because they were angry at him.'”

“正如你所知的,我刚刚回去菲律宾去拜望我的亲戚。在那里,我遇到了一个先知,并且告诉他与住在我后院的小精灵有关的怀疑。这个老头闭上眼睛,当他再次睁开的时候,告诉我,这是真的。我可以看到夜里在你的后院中奔跑的小人儿。他们拉你丈夫的头发因为他们生他的气。”  

     “What did he do to get them angry?”

“他做了什么令他们生气的事情?”  

     “The day before he had cleaned up the back, mowed away much of their hunting area, reducing their camouflage from people.”

“在他清理后院之前的那天,割掉了他们很多的狩猎区,减少了用于躲避人类的伪装。”  

     “I can see why they are upset.”

“我可以看到为什么他们很沮丧”  

     “That's not all.”

“那不是全部。”  

     “What else did you discover?”

“你还发现了什么?”  

     “They're also upset with you.”

“他们也对和你在一起很沮丧”  

     “Huh?”

“咦?”  

     “After the clean up, you after neglecting the back for so long, the way they like it -you know, privacy and natural bushes, started to water the back.”

“在清理之后,你之后很长时间都忽略后院,他们喜欢的方式-你知道,隐私和自然的灌木丛,开始浇灌后院。”  

     “Well now that's things are tidy back there, I thought I should take care of the yard better.”

“好了,现在东西都重新整理利索了,我觉得应该把后院弄的更好。”  

     “Well, you got them all wet.  And continue to do so every time you spray water over the area.  You better stop this when you go back to Hawaii or else something bad will happen to you.”

“嗯,你把他们都弄湿了。并且每次在那个地方喷水都会继续。你最好在回夏威夷的时候停止这样做,否则你可能会出事。”  

     Rose believed it all and told the soothsayer she'd stop watering the back and tell her husband not to trim things back again.  She had no choice but let the place become unkempt again.

“罗斯完全相信了并且告诉占卜师,她会停止给后院浇水,并且告诉她的丈夫不要再修剪后院的东西了。她别无选择,只能让这个地方再次变得乱七八糟”  

     “There's one more thing.  Those chickens that you keep in the coop back there.”

“还有一件事。那些养在后院的鸡。”  

     “What about it?”

“它们怎么了?”  

     “Well notice how sometimes a little chick or some eggs are missing?”

“嗯,注意到有时候一只小鸡或者一些鸡蛋丢失了吗?”  

     “You mean it's those little people?”

“你的意思是这也是这些小精灵们干的?”  

     “Yes, and they don't like the fact that you only have one chicken left.  Stop killing and eating the lot; let that last one live.”

“是的,它们不喜欢你只养一只鸡这个情况。停止杀和吃它们,让最后一只鸡活着。”  

     “But that's why we keep the chickens.  For the meat.”

“但是那就是为什么我们要养鸡啊。就是为了吃肉。”  

     Having heard the session between Rose and the visionary, Rebecca said,

在听到罗斯和先知的对话后,瑞贝卡说道,  

     “But I notice the cage is empty now.”

“但是我注意到,现在笼子是空的。”  

     “Yeah, by the time I got back, that husband of mine had killed it and made chicken adobo and chicken papaya soup.”

“是的,在我回来的时候,我丈夫已经杀了它,做成了鸡肉阿斗波和鸡肉木瓜汤。”  

     “So now what?” asked Rebecca in a worried tone.

“那么现在怎么办?瑞贝卡用一种担心的语调问道。”  

     “Well, I'm bringing all this stuff about menehunes up because I just cut your hair.”  Rebecca need her hair trimmed, to look more professional before doing job interviews.  Money was tight and Rose wanted to lend a hand.  But not wanting to get hair all over the floor inside the house, she led Rose to the back porch for the haircut.  Most of the hair was sweep up but some blew into the yard or was sweep there from off the porch's landing.

“嗯,我带来了所有关于小精灵的东西因为我刚刚剪了你的头发。”瑞贝卡的头发需要修剪,以便在工作面试的时候看起来更加专业。钱很紧张,罗斯希望助一臂之力。但是不希望把头发弄得满地都是,她带着罗斯来到了后面的门廊来剪头发。大部分的头发都收拾干净了,但是一些掉进了院子或者从门廊的平台扫了下去。  

     “Sorry, thinking things over, I made a mistake by cutting your hair back there.”  

“对不起,仔细考虑了一下,我把你的头发弄到后院是个错误。”

     “Why, Rose?”

“为什么,罗斯?”  

     “Well, remember those creatures coming inside my house, even up to the 2nd floor where we sleep, to pull the hair of my husband?   What little he still has?”

“好吧,记住那些生物进入了我的房子,甚至来到了我居住的二层,来拉我丈夫的头发?他还剩下多少头发啊?”  

     “Yeah...”

“是的…”  

     “I think the menehune's in my yard can use hair to communicate or even make a curse.”

“我觉得我院子中的小精灵可以用头发来联络或者甚至做一个诅咒。”  

     “What are you saying?” Rebecca  now said with fear on her face.

“你说什么?瑞贝卡现在面带恐惧的说道。”  

     “I'm sorry but you may now be cursed.”

“对不起,但是你可能现在被诅咒着。”


  
   “What?”

“什么?”  

     “If I was you, I'd make an offering to them, like I sometimes do.”

“如果我是你,我将为他们贡献祭品,就像我有时候做的那样。”  

     “Is that what those soda cans are back there?”

“就是那些后院的汽水罐?”  

     “Yes, they especially love Coke.”

“是的他们就是特别喜欢可乐。”  

     “That's silly... I don't believe that..”

“那很愚蠢…我可不信…”  

     “You better believe.  If you don't want your own hair pulled some night, or even have something worse happen to you.  Or maybe even to your children.”

“你最好相信。如果你不希望你自己的头发某个晚上被拉或者甚至发生一些更糟糕的事情。或者可能甚至殃及你的孩子。”  

     Thinking it over, Rebecca thought, OK, why not be safe?  I can afford to waste a can of soda.  As if Mrs. Santiago had heard the other woman's thoughts, the tenant then continued with,

仔细想了想,瑞贝卡觉得,好吧,为什么不安全点?浪费一罐汽水我还负担得起

好像圣地亚哥夫人已经听到了其它女人的想法,租户于是继续,  

     “I would also place a raw piece of chicken.  Really make nice to them.” 

“我也会放一只生的鸡。真正的讨好他们。”  

     “That would be a nice gesture,” replied her landlord.

“那是一个好的态度,”她的房东回答道。  

     “I guess I could spare a wing the next time I buy a pack of chicken pieces from the market to make dinner.”

“我猜下次我从市场买来用于做饭的鸡上,我可以余下一只翅膀。”  

“I wouldn't insult them and look cheap,” cautioned Rose.  “Better to give them a nice big thigh or drum stick.” 

“我不会侮辱和贬低他们,”罗斯说。“给他们一个漂亮的鸡大腿更好些。”  

That's the best parts, thought the overweight tenant, but answered, “OK, if you think it's necessary.”

那是最好的部分,这个负担过重的租客想到,但是回答说,“好的,如果你认为有必要。”  

“OK then,” concluded the landlord.  “So it's agreed.  From now on you'll be the one to put chicken and soda out back for them, not me.”

“那么好的,”房东总结到。“那么说好了。从现在开始,该你在院子里为他们放鸡肉和碳酸饮料了,不再是我。”  

“But...”

“但是…”  

“Hey, you're the one in trouble.  I stopped watering and the grass and tall weeds are growing back in.  Think of your kids.  And don't you forget, they got your hair.”

“嘿,有麻烦的人是你。我停止浇水,草坪和高大的野草正在涨起来。想想你的孩子。并且不要忘了,他们得到了你的头发。”  

“But do I still have to place chicken if you just buy another chicken for the coop?”

“但是如果你刚刚为鸡舍买了另一只鸡,我仍然必须放鸡吗?”  

“We don't plan to. We're getting too old to take care of chickens.  It's cheaper today just to buy the meat and eggs from the supermarket.”

“我们不打算这么做。我们太老了,没法养鸡了。现在从超市去买肉和鸡蛋更便宜。”  

“Well, OK, if you think it'll keep them away from me and the kids.”

“那好吧,如果你觉得这能让他们离开我和我的孩子们。”  

“Absolutely, my dear.”

“完全没问题,我亲爱的。”